One area the Las Vegas Raiders heavily addressed in the offseason was their defensive line. They signed defensive tackle Maliek Collins and defensive end Carl Nassib. Although we don’t have an absolute picture, we have a clear idea of how the unit is performing four weeks into the 2020 season.
We are still waiting on the Raiders D-Line additions to pay off
We have been tracking how the Raiders defensive line has performed in 2020. A big jump production was expected after the addition of defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. After all, the group registered 32 sacks in 2019. Marinelli was going to get the most out of sophomores Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby and help them take the next step in their development.
The Raiders have registered a paltry four sacks this season and three of those have been by Crosby. They have generated the second-least amount of quarterback takedowns this season and only the Jacksonville Jaguars have less. The Silver and Black are currently on pace to record 16 sacks this season, half of last season’s total. This is especially disappointing when we take into account how many resources the team has allocated through the draft and free agency.
What do advanced statistics say?
Even though Pro Football Focus’ grading system is not perfect, it can give us a good idea of how a player is performing. Most Raiders defensive linemen didn’t get a positive grade against the Buffalo Bills. Maurice Hurst received a 90.3 overall grade, the highest by any Raiders defender in Week 4. Arden Key got a 72.7 overall grade while Johnathan Hankins earned a 69.0 mark. The rest of the unit didn’t fare as well.
Ferrell earned a 49.6 overall grade while Crosby received a 49.7 mark despite the sack he registered. Meanwhile, Collins and Nassib got 30.8 and 38.8 respectively. The Raiders coaching staff is surely aware that that kind of production is not good enough and things won’t get any easier against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5. Making things worse is the fact the team placed Hurst on the Covid-19 list and might be without him for a while.
There are many areas of their roster the Raiders need to work on. It was great to see them win their first two games of the year, but the last two highlighted their defensive shortcomings. They need to do something about them if they want to avoid losing their third straight losing game in 2020. Hurst’s absence won’t help the team so they will have to do without him.
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Top Photo: D. Ross Cameron/Associated Press